Well, it’s here. The last couple of months of designing, programming, and testing have finally come to a close. Hopefully, it means that I can get some sleep sometime soon.
I’m pleased to announce that we have been very successfully testing the front end that I have been working on for the last couple of months for forex. Several people have seen it and used it at this point. The feedback seems to be very positive. From a forex-only trading perspective, it is much cleaner and easier to use than the Navigator. It doesn’t require setting up separate windows, etc. Everything is right in front of you.
One of the big things that I wanted to make sure of when we designed this was that the software could be as easy to use as possible while providing a depth of trade types that the MB/EFX platform provides. In other words, if you don’t even want to touch a keyboard, you shouldn’t have to. I think that you’ll be pleased. The various settings are concise but rich in features. You can definitely configure this thing to be easy to use for your style of trading. I find it much easier to enter a series of five or six orders in an account. Certain features (described below) will help people with other trading styles.
Here is where we currently stand. The platform has been tested on multiple machines and works fine. Execution works smoothly, and we’re comfortable with the way that the screens layout. So, what do you need to do to get it?
First of all, active EFX customers should receive an e-mail between Friday and Sunday (June 23 to 25) FROM EFX describing the new front end and what the feature differences are between it and the Navigator. Please note that while I designed the concept for this whole thing, an outside programming company did the coding and the platform is going to be controlled and operated by EFX (not MB, just EFX). So from here on, we’ll refer to it as the EFX Front End. The actual name will be released in the e-mail that is due over the weekend.
You will have a choice between continuing to use the Navigator and moving to the EFX Front End. Details of this will be clarified in the e-mail that EFX sends out. If you wish to continue to use the Navigator, do nothing. If you wish to use the new Front End, then you will be instructed in that e-mail on whom to contact to get your hands on the software. It probably won’t be on the website next week, but they will be able to get it to you if you want to start using it.
The software is listed as “beta” software. What does this mean? In the programming world today, programmers call software “beta” when there are still possibilities that various computer setups could have some sort of conflict that prevents the software from working. So, let me give you some points and details.
1) We know that the software works fine on the machines that we have tested.
2) The more updated your machine is with the latest versions and patches of Windows (preferably XP); INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_category`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES the less likely you would experience a problem. We don’t find any issues.
3) The software should not conflict with firewall or virus scanning software as it is written in Microsoft’s .Net architecture. NOTE: If you have obscure virus software, incredibly high security settings, or overly protective firewall settings, maybe it will cause a problem. However, this will likely be a “on/off” problem, meaning that you might not be able to log in until you figure out the culprit on your machine. If you can log in and see your account information, it is doubtful that you would have functionality issues.
4) On the off chance that you do have issues, of course, we (meaning EFX and the programmers) will want to hear about your machine.
So. For all of those reasons, the software is deemed “beta.” There simply is no way to guarantee that it works on every machine out there, even though we haven’t had a glitch on any of the machines that we’ve tested it on lately. Once it is installed on several hundred machines and any strange “quirks” have been found and fixed, then the software will no longer be called “beta.”
Now, there are really a couple of stages of this Front End development. Initially, we were going to wait to release the whole thing until both of the following occurred:
1) MB completed their customer-versus-customer ECN.
2) We had every feature programmed that we wanted.
Waiting for the first item made sense because when MB makes a code change to their servers, we have to make a change for our software, and we thought that might be a lot more hassle than it is turning out to be. So, we’re launching in phases instead of waiting for that. Waiting for the second item made sense because we wanted it all there. And then as the product is developed, you start to realize that there is more and more that you would love for it to do. And suddenly, you realize that it might never be released if you don’t pick a point and launch the software and then add more.
So, instead of waiting for those two items we’re ready to go, ahead of schedule.
I’m not going to comment here on the ECN itself because that is for MB/EFX to discuss and announce. I will simply say that I don’t believe it is far away at this point. If you got an e-mail from MB in the last two weeks about rolling your account to their new self-clearing FCM, you probably realized that they are late in the process of allowing customer orders to hit each other so that the “clearing” on many trades stays in-house. Of course, you’ll get the best price whether it is a bank or a customer that you are executing against. When they do complete that, it will simply mean that our Front End works the same, but the spreads will be that much tighter.
And this is purely my own prediction, but I think the spreads will be significantly tighter. But the EUR/USD is usually 1-pip anyway, you say? Well, think about large customers placing orders that you can hit down to the tenths of a pip. Those who still think incorrectly about what a “spread” means in the traditionally false markets of forex versus other true markets are going to be blown away. Again, that’s my comments, no one else’s.
So, what are the features of the Front End as of launch versus using the Navigator. Here are a few:
1) Ease of use. This is a big one. I think you’ll just love everything about the way that you can enter orders quickly, even complex ones. The spinning wheel that allows you to drag and drop price changes to various fields quickly is cool. The order types, although they are really the same as the Navigator, seem much clearer here, separating the “Entry” trade type from the “Exit” trade type.
2) Sound alerts. Built-in.
3) Close and reverse. Not a feature that I use, but many have asked for it. Let’s say you are long 100,000 EURUSD and want to sell and go short in one motion. It now takes a right-click and a left-click and it’s done. Great for active traders going back and forth.
4) Clearer positions window. The Positions window separates long positions from short positions from closed positions much better.
5) Much better limitations. It is a lot easier here to keep track of what you are doing with multiple orders as the system prevents you from entering prices that are too far out of range (without an override); INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_category`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES hitting the wrong direction when setting up a management trade on an existing position, and making it clear what orders you have in the system.
6) Order correction. You don’t need to cancel ANY order to make a small change and put it back in. It’s all done with a couple of clicks.
What is not yet in the Front End?
1) Advanced Order Types. We’re already hard at work on this, but we decided to launch without because it gets things started. Things like ratcheting stops, timed order placement and cancellation, and automatic re-entry of stopped trades is all being worked on.
2) Charts. There are good things coming, but nothing yet.
3) Much more. I’m not even going to comment. We’re just getting started.
How long until stuff like the Advanced Order Types are ready? Won’t be long. That’s something that we’d like to have ready around the time of the ECN launch. As usual, I’m not giving a date, but think about it like this. Once we get passed the rush of giving this out to everyone, the very next day we’ll be concentrating solely on testing the Advanced Orders. As soon as we know they work as billed, an upgrade will be made available.
A personal note. Tradesight has been around for five years, starting out as a stock service. I’ve been trading for 16 years now (gulp). I can tell you now that this is the most complex, interesting, and rewarding thing that I’ve dealt with in all of my time trading. Just to have a chance to think about what real traders need and tie it to the superb liquidity and order routing of the MB system, well, it’s been an experience. I realize we aren’t done, but the release of this software for me, personally, trumps adding any of our services, Chat room, or Tradesight Messenger over the last couple of years.
Our plan is to conduct a couple of on-line seminars that walk people through how to use the software in the next couple of weeks. We will do them at various times of day so that people around the globe can participate without staying up to 3 am their time.
For now, I wanted to get the word out to Tradesight subscribers first. Please don’t call EFX tomorrow and ask for the download instructions. You will receive an e-mail from them, starting with customers with active accounts, of course. After that, things should be very clear, as we like to keep them at Tradesight.
And for those of you that trade stocks and not forex, disregard this message. Too late.